According to latest reports, Volkswagen has known about excessive fuel consumption in some cars for over a year.
Top executives at VW have admitted that they falsified fuel consumption of some vehicles as well as lying about emissions data. Volkswagen even withdrew the Polo TDi BlueMotion from the market when it was discovered the discrepancy was particularly pronounced.
British Drivers Could Face £50 Bill Every Year
Owners of Volkswagens, Skodas, Seats and Audis could have to pay an extra £50 a year due to the emissions scandal. VW’s fix on engines with defeat devices is free but experts have said that motorists may be left out of pocket by increased service charges and repair costs.
Top VW Managers Suspected in Emissions Cover-up
After initial reports that just a few engineers were responsible for the emissions scandal, VW launched its own internal investigation. Two of VW’s most senior executives have said that nine managers have been suspended and only a small group, all below board level, were responsible for installing software to cheat exhaust checks. However, VW’s board chairman said the company is still investigating and suggested its probe does not exclude top managers.
Volkswagen Secures Multi-Billion Euro Bridging Loan
VW has managed to secure a huge amount of money to cover the costs of the emissions scandal. Banks are lending the car manufacturer 20 billion euros, around £14 million, to sort out the mess created by the falsified emissions data.
It will mean that the car manufacturer will need to make major cuts across the company to pay off fees and coupon payments up to around 150 million euros, on top of the loan repayments.
The loan should mean that the recall and fix for affected diesel engines goes smoothly, but we will have to wait and see.
Emissions Rigging Device Deemed Illegal in Europe
Volkswagen has said that they weren’t sure if the cheat device on engines was actually illegal in Europe, but German regulators have now said that the software VW used constitutes illegal cheating.
VW had admitted that they used illegal software in the US, but weren’t sure if the use of the software would be counted as cheating under European rules. The confirmation of illegality determined by the German regulators could see an increase in consumer litigation, but at this time it’s unclear what fines VW could face in Europe.
VW Employees Step Forward
Around 50 employees are known to have come forward with information about the emissions rigging scandal. Volkswagen launched an internal investigation, promising employees that they wouldn’t be fired or face any other repercussions if they came forward with information.
This shows that way more than the initial “one or two engineers” were involved in the decision to rig emissions output on vehicles in laboratory tests.
Volkswagen Recalls Vehicles in Germany
VW has announced that they will recall 2.5 million vehicles in Germany. The recall, like in the US and UK, includes VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat. All recalled vehicles will undergo the promised “fix” to the engines and software next year.
Across Europe 8.5 million cars are to be recalled in 2016.
Real World Emissions Data Available for Drivers
From 2016 onwards real world emissions data will be available for every car on the road. This will give consumers a chance to compare and contrast real data, not just data from laboratory tests.
Emissions Analytics specialises in testing real-world, on-road vehicle emissions and since 2011 has tested over 1,000 vehicles using the same measurement tool the EU will adopt in 2017.
These tests will make sure that the emissions rigging scandal that VW has found itself in can’t happen again. Car manufacturers will have to be far more careful and truthful about their vehicles’ emissions.
Emissions Analytics will publish the findings separately to the manufacturers’ certification test, but will be publically available for both consumers and the industry.
Compensation from Volkswagen
Slater and Gordon are still investigating the possibility of a case against Volkswagen for all those affected by the emissions rigging scandal.
Until we know what the fix will be to engines, and how that fix will affect fuel economy, engine performance and re-sale value, we are collecting information from anyone interested in claiming compensation from VW.
If you have been affected by the emissions rigging scandal please register your details on our VW Emissions Scandal Investigation page.
Jacqueline Young is Head of Group Litigation at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.
Follow Jacqueline Young on Twitter for live updates on the VW scandal.